California Condors Are Critically Endangered, Part 1

by OBDK on March 09, 2022

The California Condor is a critically endangered bird that lives in the mountains.1 Today, we’ll talk about their characteristics and next week we’ll chat about conservation efforts made to save them. 

California Condors used to live throughout the United States, however, now they’re found in California, Utah, Arizona, and Mexico. They’re very large birds – standing around 3-4.5 feet tall with a ten-foot wingspan. They weigh 18-30 pounds.2

These birds are vultures, and just like other vultures, they don’t have strong feet. This is because vultures don’t hunt down live prey. They’ll eat the dead carcasses they find in the wild. While their feet may not be strong, their beaks definitely are. This helps them tear into the dead animals they eat.3 California Condors will eat large animals, like cattle.2

Because of their size, California Condors live in mountain regions. This helps them fly because it’s easier to fly off a higher point than starting from ground level.1 While flying, they can reach up to 15,000 feet. Their nests will be around 6,000 feet up from the ground.1&2

Female California Condors lay one egg every other year. They’ll usually stay with the same mate, too. These birds are very playful and social and they’ll often chase objects or play tug-of-war.2&3 

Stay tuned for next week’s email to learn about conservation efforts to help these vultures! In the meantime, browse our collection of dissection activities to do at home or in the classroom. We have barn owl pellets, great horned owl pellets (for an extra challenge!), Dissect It! Kits, and more. 


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